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Jimerson reconnects through clay

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Artists in Residence Part Two of Two

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    Artist in resident Jacob Jimerson braves the Texas heat with a smile as he works in his temporary garage studio. Navasota has provided inspiration for his rustic clay pieces. Jimerson said, “One of the things I really like are the houses with the tin ro
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In April, the Horlock House Art Gallery and History Museum became “home” to two new resident artists, Arienne Boley and Jacob Jimerson. The collaborative effort between the City of Navasota and the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley (ACBV) is in its eighth year of providing time and space for artists to hone their craft.

Navasota artist in residence, Jacob Jimerson, was born in Indiana, moved to League City, Texas, and graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts and Physics and a minor in English and math, but art has always been a part of his being.

Referring to a cache of elementary school sketch books, Jimerson said, “I have been making art as long as I can remember.”

A scheduling mix-up in high school landed Jimerson in an advanced sculpture class, and once he started working in three dimension, he loved it! In college, faced with the option of sculpture or working with clay, Jimerson chose clay. He said, “The material is really great. I love everything about it – the smell, the texture, and getting messy with it.”

While the creative gene in Jimerson’s family may be more musical than visual, he had the support of his parents but said both preferred he take “a hard science course which has an obvious source of income.”

Embracing tactile qualities

Jimerson describes his work with clay as experimental and experiential.

He said, “The first one being a lot of experimentation, and the second being about the experience of using it, the experience of working at it, and also the experience of how pieces attract to each other.”

Jimerson considers his work rustic looking with lots of uneven surfaces, unsmooth exteriors, and said, “I’m really embracing the tactile qualities.”

He continued, “A lot of clay artists are inspired by nature and I’m one of them – the textures of nature, the colors of nature like the green grass, the blue of the glaciers, and I translate that into my work, embracing the stone like qualities of clay and playing that up in a mountainous or cavernous field, but I’m also inspired by cityscapes. Driving into Houston and seeing the big skyline and gleaming glass, I try to capture that in my work.”

Jimerson said he stopped making art during the isolation of Covid-19 but the experience was not without influence.

He said, “It definitely shaped the work I’m making now which is about the connections between physical spaces like landscapes and cityscapes. It’s also about people reconnecting with each other now that we’re coming out of this isolation.”

NAIR experience

During the residency, Jimerson has taught both elementary school painting and adult pottery classes, but the most memorable aspect has been the opportunity to connect with other artists.

Jimerson said, “Meeting the other artists in College Station and Bryan, that was a really good opportunity that this program afforded me. I was really inspired by the community and network opportunity and that’s what gave rise to my current work.”

As for his expectations, Jimerson said, “I think I expected basically what’s happened, and the expectation of myself was to make work and I’ve done that. I sort of experienced what it’s like to be an artist working and living as an artist and that’s been very fulfilling.”

Is Jimerson prepared for the business side of an artist’s life? He replied, “No, but I’m working toward it and I think I have all the tools I need to figure it out.”

Currently, he’s enhancing his website with an online shop but his ultimate goal is to be able to support himself making art, “in whatever form that looks like,” which ranges from museum work to teaching ceramics at a university while also creating his own work.

Exhibit and open house

Boley’s and Jimerson’s work will be on exhibit Aug. 5 through Sept. 8, and a reception will be held Thursday, Aug. 12, 5:30-7 p.m. The Horlock House Art Gallery and History Museum is located at 1215 E. Washington. Gallery hours are Thursday – Sunday, noon-5 p.m., and admission is free.